5 games we're excited for from Summer Games Fest's Wholesome Direct

The Whole Games Direct logo for Summer Game Fest 2023
(Image credit: Wholesome Games)

Summer Game Fest 2023 is in full swing, and Saturday brought with it a slew of cozy game announcements courtesy of this year's Wholesome Direct. The organizer behind it, Wholesome Games, is an indie game community built around curating and highlighting cozy and uplifting games. This year marks their first appearance at Geoff Keighley's summer gaming showcase alongside the likes of Xbox, Capcom, and other game industry big names. 

The Wholesome Direct showed off over 70 indie games for PC and game consoles, including several upcoming Xbox titles that are coming to Game Pass, Xbox's wildly popular gaming subscription service. Many of the cozy games featured also announced free demos available now on Steam. You can check out the dedicated Wholesome Direct Steam sale page to find out more about the games shared on today's live stream. 

All the games featured looked delightfully cozy and fun to play, but there were a few standouts that we wanted to highlight. Read on for the games we're most excited for from Saturday's Wholesome Direct. 

Bubblegum Galaxy

Bubblegum Galaxy is an adorable retro-looking strategy and puzzle game where you build worlds by placing tiles, similar to another indie gem, Dorfromantik. Only this time, instead of constructing cozy country sides, you're rebuilding entire planets as an intern for Bubblegum Galaxy. Place tiles strategically to complete quests and unlock more planets to restore, each with its own rule sets and quirks. When you're not rebuilding the galaxy Katamari-style, you can take a break to walk around your workplace and get to know a quirky cast of co-workers. 

The demo for Bubblegum Galaxy is available on Steam now. A full release on PC is slated for sometime later this year. 


Pekoe from Kitten Cup Studio launches on PC on June 28, and it's currently in early access. In this management sim, you're the newest resident and teahouse owner in a town full of cats. Get to know your regular customers while building up your teahouse into a widely respected establishment. Experiment with different combinations of ingredients to brew the perfect tea based on each customer's desires. 


Gourdlets reminds me of a super cute spin on Sim City. It's a citybuilding sandbox game where you construct buildings and scenery, and then watch in delight as adorable critters called Gourdlets make your creation their home. What these little guys get up to throughout their day depends on what you build. Set up a campfire to watch them roast marshmallows, or carve out a small pond and they'll break out their fishing poles. 

It seems like a zen game that more about cultivating cozy vibes than anything else. "No objectives, no points, just building," the game's description reads on Steam, where you can also download the free demo now. There's no set release date at this time. 

Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley

Snufkin fans got a new look at Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley at this year's Summer Game Fest. The musical adventure game features characters from the wildly popular Moomin series from Finnish author Tove Jansson, who must work together to restore balance to the valley after a series of grotesque parks have turned their typically calm, cozy world upside-down. Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley is coming to PC and consoles sometime this year. 

Manitas Kitchen

In Manitas Kitchen, you play as a young T-Rex with a dream: to become the best pizza chef. You’ll need to master your slicing and dicing skills using your tiny T-rex arms and enlist a cast of dinosaurs, each with their own special skill in the kitchen, to serve up the kind of pizzas that'll win customers over. Manitas Kitchen launches on PC on October 23, 2023.

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Alyse Stanley
News Editor

Alyse Stanley is a news editor at Tom’s Guide overseeing weekend coverage and writing about the latest in tech, gaming and entertainment.

Prior to joining Tom’s Guide, Alyse worked as an editor for the Washington Post’s sunsetted video game section, Launcher. She previously led Gizmodo’s weekend news desk, where she covered breaking tech news — everything from the latest spec rumors and gadget launches to social media policy and cybersecurity threats.  She has also written game reviews and features as a freelance reporter for outlets like Polygon, Unwinnable, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. She’s a big fan of horror movies, cartoons, and miniature painting.